Ever since Kid Cudi made his recording debut in the early 2000s, he’s been one of the biggest advocates and loudest voices about mental health in hip hop. His 2008 breakthrough single, “Day ‘n’ Nite”, was about his uncle passing away.
“My uncle that I lived with passed in 2006,” Cudi told Complex in a 2009 interview. “We were actually beefing because he forced me out the house when I didn’t have another situation set up, so I was bitter. I never apologized for it, and that kills me.”
“That’s why I wrote ‘Day ‘n’ Nite.’ If he wasn’t there to let me stay with him those first few months, there would be no Kid Cudi. It fucked me up watching him go, but it was like, ‘I have to fulfill this destiny now for sure.’
In a later interview with Complex about his 25 favourite albums, Cudi further revealed that the Geto Boys’ 1991 album We Can’t Be Stopped and in particular their hit single, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” was the inspiration behind “Day ‘n’ Nite.”
Kid Cudi: A lot of people don’t know this but Geto Boys’ “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me” is the song that inspired “Day ‘N’ Nite.” “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me” is my favorite song in the world. I love it so much I wanted to make my own version of it. And then “Day ‘N’ Nite” came out of it.”Soundtrack To My Life: Kid Cudi’s 25 Favorite Albums | Complex
When it dropped back in 1991, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” was an unexpected hit and remains Geto Boys’ best charting single, peaking at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Hot Rap Singles. It also happens to be one of the best hip hop songs of the ’90s. With an infectious Isaac Hayes sample providing the foundation and Scarface penning the vivid, nightmarish raps, the track has left an unforgettable legacy on hip hop culture, and has been sampled by artists ranging from OutKast to the Clipse to Biggie.